Description

    SAMPLES OF THE MOON & MARS - TISSINT AND NWA 482
    Martian, olivine-phyric Shergottite - SNC
    Tata, Morocco - (29° 28' 55"N, 7° 36' 40"W)
    and Lunar impact melt breccia - LUN ANOM
    The Sahara Desert, near the Algerian/Moroccan border - coordinates unknown
    The Sahara Desert, near the Algerian/Moroccan border - coordinates unknown
    From the same event described in lot 49081, this specimen of the Martian meteorite Tissint is completely blanketed in a glistening black fusion crust. NWA 482 is an anorthosite-rich Moon rock that matches Moon rock sample #60015, which was brought to Earth by Apollo 16 in 1972. Discovered by nomadic Berbers in the Sahara in 1999, NWA 482 is an impact-melt breccia believed to have originated from the surface of the ancient lunar highlands. With one edge of fusion crust, this is a fine representation of NWA 482 - and a cherished piece of Tissint. Tissint: 15 x 15 x 8mm (0.66 x 0.66 x 0.33 grams) and 2.593 grams. NWA 482: 10 x 12 x 4mm (0.33 x 0.5 x 0.25 inches) and 1.098 grams.

    Estimate: $3,000-$3,500

    INTRODUCTION TO MARTIAN METEORITES - Meteorites from Mars are among the most exotic substances on Earth. The determination of the Martian origin of select meteorites is the result of research conducted by hundreds of scientists throughout the world. In addition to many arcane markers, these unique meteorites share the following fundamental characteristics: they exhibit an unusually young crystalline age (so that cant' be from Earth); they contain water-bearing minerals (so they can't be from the asteroid belt - the place of origin of 99.9% of all meteorites); there is evidence of a planetary sized gravitational field on their crystalline structure (which makes the most likely candidates of origin our two closest neighbors - Venus and Mars). The link to Mars was speculative until an analysis was conducted on the glassy inclusions of a meteorite suspected to be of Martian origin. In this glass were tiny voids, and in these voids were tiny volumes of gas. In 1997 the technology existed to analyze the gas - and it matched perfectly with the signature of the Martian atmosphere as reported by NASA's Viking Missions to Mars. As is the case with lunar meteorites, the delivery mechanism was an asteroid impact, which jettisoned material off of the Martian surface into an Earth-intersecting orbit.

    INTRODUCTION TO LUNAR METEORITES - The following six lots are portions of the Moon authenticated by renowned scientists. Lunar samples are readily identified by their highly specific geological, mineralogical, chemical and radiation signatures. Lunar minerals were formed in a weak gravitational field, absence of water, with no free oxygen, and have been altered through exposure to cosmic radiation. The minerals comprising the Moon's crust are limited. Lunar specimens contain gases originating from the solar wind with isotope ratios that are markedly different than the same gases found on Earth (also a result of cosmic radiation).
    When asteroids strike the Moon's surface, chunks of the Moon are launched into space in much the same way that dust is launched into the air when a child dives onto a bed. One merely needs to view the craters of the Moon to imagine the number of asteroids whose impact would have provided sufficient energy to eclipse the Moon's gravitational influence and launch surface material into space.
    Less than 0.1% of all meteorites recovered are lunar in origin, with less than 150 pounds of meteorites originating from the Moon known to exist. Lunar meteorites are so scarce, and so difficult to identify, that not one example has ever been found in Europe, or either of the American continents. Every single lunar meteorite recovery to date has been from a desert where such meteorites are more readily identified (including the cold desert of Antarctica, where precipitation is negligible).
    Of the 79 distinct lunar meteorites known, 20 were found by scientists searching in Antarctica. Owned by a consortium of countries, not one gram of Antarctic material will ever be available to the private sector. (Nor will the U.S. government ever release a single gram of the 380 kg of Moon rocks recovered by Apollo astronauts.)
    Moving onto the fourth largest lunar meteorite known to exist, Dar al Gani (DaG) 1058 - the larger piece of the Moon to grace a public offering.


    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    14th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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